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Denver vs. Miami Preview Article


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Nuggets vs. Heat Top Picks for Monday: Heat Defense Will Keep Joker From Laughing

Best Bet: Heat -1.5 at -110 with BetOnline

Denver Nuggets vs. Miami Heat
Monday, February 13, 2023 at 9:30 p.m. ET at Miami-Dade Arena in Miami, Florida

The First Game

Tonight presents the second time that these teams have faced each other this season.

Denver won the first game, which took place on December 30, 124-119 on its home court.

That game was something of a freak occurrence.

While a five-point win might sound solid enough, it seems rather incredible that the Nuggets did not win by more, because they converted an absurd 17 of their 28 three-point attempts for a 60.7-percent three-point conversion rate.

The unlikeliest scoring options seemed like they couldn't miss.

Bones Hyland, for example, a bench player who is actually now a Clipper, converted five of his six three-point attempts.

For Miami, Kyle Lowry was relatively off -- he mustered all of three points.

Heat Injuries

Lowry's unusually poor effort in the first meeting, a game that Denver barely won despite its incredible three-point efficiency, makes his current injury status appear irrelevant.

Specifically, he is listed as 'out' indefinitely with a knee injury.

Miami's scoring would rather be impacted negatively by the absence of Tyler Herro.

Herro is his team's third-leading scorer.

He is one of three Heat players who average 13 or more points per game -- in fact, he scores 20.6 points per game.

Officially, Herro is listed as 'questionable' with a left knee contusion for tonight's game.

The thing is, NBA players like to rest-up nowadays and Herro played in all of his team's games since January 14.

On Saturday, his team's game went into overtime and he played 47 points, which is unusually high.

Miami depends to a significant extent on Herro's scoring prowess, so his current injury situation plus his need for rest two days after a long and hard effort creates a negative outlook for him tonight.

Nugget Injuries

For Denver, starting point guard Jamal Murray is listed as 'questionable' for tonight's game with right knee inflammation, which has already kept him out of his team's last four games.

Murray is his team's second-leading scorer and its second-best assist-getter, so his absence is significant.

Initial Takeaway

The initial thing to note is that both teams will likely miss their top guards -- or at least will play them fatigued and banged-up. Even Victor Oladipo for Miami has likewise been ruled out with an ankle injury.

Lack of guard play entails lack of ball-handling quality and a lack of guys who can distribute.

How Heat Defense Will Take Advantage

Bruce Brown, as Murray's top backup, is in line to receive a lot of minutes tonight.

As evident in his low point and assist totals, he struggles to be productive.

But even if Murray were healthy, Brown's poor play would be a problem because teams need all the ball-handling quality they can find against Miami's defense.

The Heat defense ranks third at forcing its opponents to turn the ball over -- for comparison's sake, Denver's ranks 19thin the category.

On defense, Miami likes to switch, trap, and perform other tactics in order to keep opposing ball-handlers on lockdown.

Murray's lack of game fitness -- if he even plays -- will clearly hurt Denver more than Lowry's absence -- Miami could have won the first meeting despite Lowry's absence if Denver did not shoot amazingly from deep -- might hurt Miami.

Stopping Jokic

Miami's advantage extends to the area closest to the basket where Denver allows the third-highest field goal percentage within five feet of the basket.

Unlike Denver, Miami possesses a high-quality defensive center in Bam Adebayo.

In their last game, Adebayo held Jokic to four-of-10 shooting with three turnovers.

Expect Adebayo to stick to Jokic while Miami's top scorer, Jimmy Butler, thrives with his characteristic driving inside against Denver's uniquely vulnerable interior defense.

The Verdict

Both teams will struggle to score because they will lack reliable scoring options.

While Miami will miss somewhat more guard play, it has the edge because of its ability to force turnovers and because it also possesses the personnel to stop Denver's key scoring star, Jokic.

Best Bet: Under 220.5 at -110 with BetOnline


Talk with me, please
Im not sure I agree w the premise that since lowery didn’t score much in last meeting it makes his absence here irrelevant. He only scores 12 points a game and shooting below 40% from the field on the year so I don’t think his offense is what they miss when he out. More so his floor leadership and fact they really don’t have a legit backup pg I think the issue w him being out. It forces one their other guys into that role and out of one they more suited for.

Murray been out a lot longer than it initially sounded like he would be. I’d want to know for sure he isn’t playing to back Miami. Jokic went for a triple dub on them last meeting and he shot above 50% so I dunno if heat capable of stopping him? Bam got to the free throw line a bunch in that game which offset the fact he didn’t shoot all that well. Far as the 3 point shooting goes Denver did have a few guys get hot who not there now or you wouldn’t expect however Porter jr went 0-3 which incredibly unlikely to happen again. If Murray played I think Denver the side just cause I think they easily the better team, without him I dunno, and no clue if he plays, gl